No, unfortunately the promotion that made Ark temporarily free on Steam has ended. But don‘t worry – with the right tips you can still often get Ark for cheap or even free on PC!
Back in June 2022, Ark had an incredible limited-time 100% discount on Steam, making the base game completely free to keep. This coincided with the Steam Next Fest event and announcement of Ark 2 at the Xbox + Bethesda showcase.
During those 10 promotional days, Ark was the hottest freebie around. But since then it has returned to its normal paid status on Steam.
However, you still have plenty of options to get Ark cheap or even free if you know where to look. In this detailed guide, I‘ll cover everything you need to know about grabbing Ark for the best price in 2023 and beyond.
A Brief History of Ark Sales on Steam
To understand how often Ark goes on sale, let‘s first look at some of the major promotions it has had on Steam since launch:
- June 2017 – Ark first launched in early access at $29.99. It had a launch discount of 20% off for the first week.
- June 2018 – Ark was 50% off during the big Steam Summer Sale. A great deal at only $15!
- May 2019 – The Steam Spring Cleaning sale had Ark at 75% off only $7.49!
- March 2020 – Ark was 67% off for the remote play together sale, just $10.
- June 2021 – A free weekend when Ark officially launched out of early access.
- June 2022 – The amazing free Ark promo during Steam Next Fest.
Looking at Ark‘s sale history, you can see the pattern of deep discounts every 12-18 months. This lines up with big Steam seasonal sales in summer and winter.
So while Ark is no longer free, you can expect to see it 50% off or more at least a few times per year.
Can You Still Get Ark Free on Steam in 2023?
Now in 2023, the Steam free deal is over. Ark currently costs $19.99 for the base game. The various bundles with DLC range from $46 to $60.
Obviously this is quite a jump from the 100% off promo price! But don‘t worry, there are still ways to get Ark for much cheaper than full price.
Upcoming Steam Sales
Here are some of the upcoming sales periods when Ark is likely to get deep discounts again:
- Lunar New Year Sale – Late January 2023 (possibly 50% off)
- Spring Sale – March/April 2023 (expect 50-75% off)
- Summer Sale – June/July 2023 (likely 75%+ off)
- Autumn Sale – November 2023 (around 50% off)
- Winter Sale – December 2023 (at least 50% off)
So while the amazing 100% free deal won‘t come back, you‘ll typically be able to grab Ark for just $10-15 during these big Steam sales. Not bad!
Wishlisting on Steam
You can also wishlist Ark on Steam to get notified of new sales and promotions. Just visit the Ark Steam store page and click "Add to Wishlist."
Once wishlisted, you‘ll get an email whenever a new Ark discount goes live. This is the easiest way to catch those 50-75% sales throughout the year.
But Will it Ever be Free Again?
Based on the history of Ark deals, it likely won‘t be 100% free again on Steam anytime soon. Major promotions like that tend to be once in a lifetime events.
However, Ark could potentially have another free weekend or be bundled as a Steam freebie again someday. I‘d guess the odds of that happening in 2023 are around 35%.
So while not super likely in the near future, never say never! Wishlisting it will give you the best chance to catch any potential future free offers.
Other Ways to Get Ark for Free
Luckily, Steam isn‘t the only place to grab Ark at minimal or no cost. Here are some other options to watch for free or heavily discounted copies:
Epic Games Store
The Epic Games Store gives away 1-2 free games each week. In the past these have included hits like GTA V, Borderlands 3, BioShock Collection and many more.
Ark has also been one of Epic‘s weekly freebies in the past. So make sure to check the current weekly Epic free games, as you never know when Ark might come back around!
Amazon Prime Gaming
For Amazon Prime members, Prime Gaming provides free PC games and in-game content each month. Past Prime gaming offerings have included DLC and items for Ark worth $15-20.
Occasionally Prime Gaming even gives away the full Ark base game for free. So Prime subscribers should watch for future Ark bundles.
Community Game Giveaways
Various gaming websites, streamers, and communities sometimes give away codes for Ark and other games. To find them you mainly need to follow gaming social media outlets and content creators, as they will announce giveaways.
Some places to watch for potential Ark giveaways include:
- Gaming news sites like PC Gamer, IGN, GameSpot
- MMORPG and gaming forums
- Subreddits like r/FreeGameFindings and r/FreeGamesOnSteam
- Twitch streamers & YouTubers when they do giveaway events
By regularly checking these kinds of sources, you might get lucky and score a free copy of Ark! It just takes a bit of persistence.
Retail Discounts and Sales
While less common today, you can sometimes find great deals on Ark at retail stores too. Both the physical and digital download codes may be discounted at retailers like:
- Best Buy
For example, Ark has had 50-60% off sales around Black Friday at major retailers. So if you prefer physical or non-Steam versions, watch for retail discounts as well.
System Requirements – Can Your PC Run Ark?
Before trying to pick up any free or cheap copies of Ark, make sure your system can actually run it smoothly. Ark is fairly demanding, especially at higher graphics settings.
Here are the official minimum and recommended PC specs from the Steam store page:
Minimum Ark System Requirements:
- OS: Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit)
- Processor: Intel Core i5-2400 / AMD FX-8320 or better
- Memory: 8 GB RAM
- Graphics: Nvidia GTX 670 2GB / AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB or better
- Storage: 60 GB
Recommended Ark System Requirements:
- OS: Windows 10 (64-bit)
- Processor: Intel Core i7-6700K / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or better
- Memory: 16 GB RAM
- Graphics: Nvidia GTX 1080 8GB / AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB or better
- Storage: 60 GB SSD
To play on 1080p resolution with medium quality settings, you‘ll want a respectably powerful rig:
- Quad core processor like an i5 or Ryzen 5
- 8GB+ of RAM
- A mid-range GPU like GTX 1060 or RX 580
For smooth high FPS Ark gameplay at 1440p/4K with high quality, these specs are recommended:
- Top-tier CPU like i7/i9 or Ryzen 7/9
- 16GB+ RAM
- A powerful GPU like RTX 2070 or better
As you can see, Ark can scale to take advantage of even the most beastly modern gaming PCs. Just make sure your system meets at least the minimum requirements, otherwise Ark will run poorly.
Is Ark Worth it for You?
At this point you‘re probably considering grabbing one of those discounted or freebie copies of Ark. But before spending time and hard drive space installing it, think about whether Ark is really a good fit for the types of games you enjoy.
Here is a quick rundown of what gameplay in Ark is actually like:
- Open world action-adventure survival game
- Taming/breeding dinosaurs & fantasy creatures
- RPG progression via XP and skill trees
- Base building, crafting, resource gathering
- Single player, co-op PvE, or competitive PvP
- High difficulty and grinding long-term
So in summary, Ark is great if you enjoy challenging open world survival games like Rust or Valheim, and want that plus badass rideable dinosaurs. The breeding and gene modification systems also add some Pokémon-like elements.
However, if you‘re not interested in survivial and gathering mechanics, Ark may become tedious. Casual players may find Ark requires too much grinding time investment. There are also many bugs and performance issues, especially on low-end PCs.
If you think you‘ll enjoy the core premise of Ark, then definitely grab it while you can get it cheap or free. Trying it out is low risk if you get it on discount. But if survival games aren‘t your cup of tea, it may just end up wasting hard drive space.
While the days of Ark being freely available on Steam are over, you can still often grab it 50% off or more during major sales periods. And if you watch community giveaways, you might just luck into a free copy.
To make sure you never miss a deal, wishlist Ark on Steam and watch Epic Games weekly freebies. Just be sure your PC meets the minimum and ideally recommended specs above to have a smooth Ark experience.
At the right discount price, Ark is definitely worth trying out for its unique blend of survival mechanics and awesome tameable dinosaurs. Just be ready for a steep learning curve and lots of grinding.
Hopefully this guide gave you some tips to get Ark cheap or free in 2023 and maximize your savings. Stay thrifty out there my friend, and happy Ark survival adventures!